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Do you remember what types of books fascinated you when you were little? Chances are that those same books will impact your child in the same way.

Why? Because books – especially children’s books – are timeless.

You can give your child a lifelong love for reading by selecting books they’ll love and then taking the time to read to and with them.

The New York Public Library recently published a list of 100 great children’s books along with a special exhibit of children’s literature. Here are some of their suggestions for helping your kids find books they will connect with.

  1. See if YOU like it. Great books appeal to all ages. Share your childhood favorites with your sons and daughters. Think of the trip you’ll have down memory lane as you read them together years later. You may also discover some new titles and learn something new along with your kids.

  2. Look at the illustrations. The pictures matter as much as the text. Images help you interpret the story. However, books without words can give kids the chance to create their own masterpieces.

  3. Welcome diversity. Tales from other lands introduce your children to new cultures. You can talk about what life is like for people in other parts of the world.

  4. Get a little scared. It’s natural for parents to be protective, but we all need to face our fears. Fiction is a safe way for kids to explore dark woods and meet monsters in the safety of their own home. This experience prepares them for real life challenges.

  5. Check for deeper messages. Moral instruction is an important part of literature. Think about the Velveteen Rabbit. He learns that being real sometimes hurts, but it’s worth it. You become authentic and loved, even if you look a little shabby.

More Ideas on Selecting Children’s Books

  1. Encourage kids to pick their own titles. Head to your local library or a bookstore. Let your kids decide what to bring home as long as it’s wholesome and age appropriate.

  2. Know when to drop it. If your child seems bored with a story, put it aside for later. Switch to something that captivates them. Keep story time fun!

  3. Understand reading levels. Check the publisher’s recommendations on the book jacket. Reading levels are mostly determined by the vocabulary and complexity of the story. If your child has to look up more than five words per page, the book is probably too complicated for them.

  4. Describe familiar events. Children like hearing about their own lives and interests. Favorite subjects might include the adventures of a family pet, welcoming a new baby sister, or visiting with grandparents.

  5. Engage in fantasy. On the other hand, make believe characters and worlds have a magic of their own. Let your child exercise his power of imagination with The Hobbit or Harry Potter.

  6. Complete the series. If you’re stumped about what to read next, serials make your work easier. Try works that are published in a series or browse online for recommendations that are similar to books your child already loves.

  7. Rhyme and repeat. There’s a good reason why children love watching the same cartoon endlessly. Many of the words are still new to them so repetition is reassuring. Text with repeating and rhyming lines also makes it easier for your children to join in and read to you.

  8. Use other media. Books are excellent, but there are many other ways to encourage reading. Shop for comic books and graphic novels. Make a game out of grocery shopping or driving home by observing the signs around you.

Reading with your children creates pleasure, builds their language skills and knowledge base, and helps them to do better in school. Make story time even better by choosing books that will enthrall them.

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